Teens need a vehicle that isn’t just safe. It also needs to be relatively fuel efficient, have a good level of technology to help them stay connected, and not be too tempting to go hooning around in. Today, U.S. News & World Report unveiled its annual list of the Best Cars for Teens
“Not every car is a good fit for a teen driver,” said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “High-performance models can tempt teens to drive beyond their skills, and vehicles without key safety features can leave teens at higher risk for an accident. The winners of the Best Cars for Teens awards all have top-of-the-line safety features that can help teens safely develop their driving skills while lowering the risk that they’ll be involved in a collision.
All 2020 Best New Cars for Teens have available forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking, as well as lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. All of the winners in categories above $20,000 also have teen driver controls or available smartphone apps that send parents alerts when the car goes over a set speed or is driven outside a set geographic area or time period.
You can see the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Cars for the Money list here and the rankings of Best Cars for Families here.
Best New Car for Teens Under $20,000 – 2020 Honda Fit
The Honda Fit wins with buyers because it’s fuel efficient, has gobs of passenger space, and has easily configurable cargo space. It hasn’t had many changes for the 2020 model year. The last round of updates included adding available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, making Honda Sensing safety and driver assistance technology available, and giving buyers the option of adding automatic high beams.
Best New Car for Teens $20,000 to $25,000 – 2020 Toyota Corolla
Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.
The Corolla was redesigned for the 2020 model year and is now upgraded to fit nicely into Toyota’s modern lineup. It can come loaded to the gills with high-tech features but its less premium models still don’t feel like too much of a compromise. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid, though more expensive, is about as fuel efficient as the Prius.
Best New SUV for Teens $20,000 to $25,000 – 2020 Ford Escape
The Ford Escape has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It features a cavernous cargo area, spacious seating, and easy low-speed handling. This Escape rides better than the last and its interior has been upgraded. New powertrain options include a PHEV and there’s a long list of standard and available safety features.
Best New Car for Teens $25,000 to $30,000 – 2020 Kia Optima
The 2020 is the last model year in the current generation Kia Optima. Despite being a little long in the tooth, the 2020 Optima delivers for customers offering a smooth ride, a well-designed cabin with premium appointments in high trim levels, and an easy-to-use infotainment system.
Best New SUV for Teens $25,000 to $30,000 – 2002 Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage competes against some of the industry’s heavy hitters including the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. It has a wide variety of trim levels from the budget-friendly base model and the plush near-premium top grade. The Sportage has good passenger space and an easy-to-use infotainment system.
Best New Car for Teens $30,000 to $35,000 – 2020 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai redesigned the Sonata for the 2020 model year. It’s a completely new car with fresh angles and innovative tech, yet it keeps the same spacious seating and cargo space buyers have known and loved about the midsize car.
Best New SUV for Teens $30,000 to $35,000 – 2020 Nissan Rogue
The Nissan Rogue is a few years past its prime, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a formidable choice for buyers. Nissan has given the compact SUV comfortable seats, a modern-enough infotainment system, and fuel efficiency. It’s equally at home in the city on on the highway.
Best New Car for Teens $35,000 to $40,000 – 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.
The Toyota Camry reigns supreme for American buyers and it’s easy to see why. Its looks are (finally) anything but mundane. The Camry’s interior is plush and comfortable, and it comes loaded with a hist of standard safety and driver assistance features. The Camry Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient variant of the model.
Best New SUV for Teens $35,000 to $40,000 – 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America
The Hyundai Santa Fe was recently downsized to make room in Hyundai’s lineup for the three-row Palisade. The model retains the daily driver functionality that made it appealing in the first place, while giving owners a high-quality interior filled with premium-level materials and features.
Best Used Large Car for Teens – 2017 Kia Cadenza
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
Americans aren’t buying too many large cars these days, but the Kia Cadenza remains a formidable choice. It is plush and comfortable, full of enough technology to make most anyone happy, and stylish.
Best Used Midsize Car for Teens – 2016 Toyota Camry/Camry Hybrid
The last-generation Toyota Camry fulfilled buyers expectations. In turn, they kept it near the top of the vehicle sales list for decades. It’s reliable, reasonably fuel-efficient, and doesn’t encourage speedster driving.
Best Used Midsize SUV for Teens – 2017 Kia Sorento
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors
The Kia Sorento wins on passenger space and bang for your buck. It also was available with a good amount of safety and infotainment technology when new. It’s also available with all-wheel drive.
Best Used Small Car for Teens – 2016 Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius family of vehicles represents a fuel-saving line of quirky cars that give eco-conscious shoppers an untraditional option. The Prius is the OG, but it’s been restyled over the years while getting more fuel-efficient.
Best Used Small SUV for Teens – 2017 Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson delivers on a lot what empty nesters and young professionals are looking for in a compact SUV. It’s plush and premium in its top trim levels, has high safety scores, and comes with a long warranty. The Tucson is comfortable enough to serve as a daily driver or road trip warrior.